February 21, 2013 by
Categories: Mindfulness

Sometimes it is a rather eye-opening experience to realize how much influence we have over others.  Interpersonal influence was a topic covered in one of my classes this past week.  At the core of the research conducted on influence was this idea that we influence others in an attempt to benefit ourselves and the people in our lives.

I will go ahead and put it out there…I think that sometimes we are much more aware of the influence that we have to benefit ourselves and fail to step back and think about the influence that we have over others.

Why is the influence that we have over others so important to think about? Well, I believe that we have a responsibility (don’t take that the wrong way) to realize the people who may be influenced by our words and actions and of the people who influence us.

Why must we be aware of influence? Think of how much good it can do!

There is a theory that is often discussed with regard to young children that explains the idea of modeling.  Essentially, children observe the actions and words of the most influential people in their lives (usually their parents) and copy those actions and words.  Are you following me?

From what I have seen in my own relationships and heard from my clients, modeling is a phenomenon that is not restricted solely to childhood. Think of the couple who makes an effort to work out together in the midst of a crazy week.  You will often hear one of the spouses say that their husband/wife decided to go the gym and that it motivated them to do the same.

Relationships have such power to benefit us. Whether it be the relationship between romantic partners, a mother and her son, or a grandfather and his grandson…influence exists.

I am pretty sure that we can all think of a time, past or present, when we have been significantly influenced by someone.

For me, it has been:


My mother and aunt…intelligent, loving, graceful, and strong women.

My s.o. …an understanding, loving, and passionate man.

My mentor…a compassionate, motivating, and overall wonderful human being.

Without sounding self-centered, I know that I, too, have influence over at least one person. In some ways it is scary to think about but in others it is so rewarding.

I advocate a very balanced relationship between me and my clients in the therapy room. Just as much as I am influenced by them, I hope that they are influenced by me. Not in a manner of power but in a manner of compassion and understanding.





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